Penne with Vodka Sauce / Penne alla Vodka
Penne with vodka sauce has nothing to do with traditional pasta dishes; it is one of those modern mystery concoctions that snuck its way onto the palates and plates of Americans who can’t understand why Italians have no idea what they are talking about when they ask for penne alla vodka in Italy. But for those of you who must have it, here is my take, and I have to admit, it’s darn good.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or more if you wish),
- or hot red pepper paste
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons capers in brine, drained and minced
- 2 cups pureed fresh or canned plum tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 pound penne rigate or farfalle (butterfly pasta)
- Fine sea salt to taste
- 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan (12-14 inches). Stir in the red pepper flakes and cook about 1 minute over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Stir in the capers and cook 1 minute longer.
- Add the tomatoes and vodka and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Slowly pour in the cream and cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Add half the cheese and keep the sauce warm while the penne are cooking.
- Cook the penne or farfalle in 4 to 6 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the penne, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
- Transfer the penne to the sauté pan with the reserved water and stir the ingredients well over medium heat until hot. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and stir to blend.
- Transfer the penne to a serving platter. Serve hot.
This recipe was featured on Season 20 - Episode 2007.